University of Arizona's special collections library archivists were tasked with collecting, cataloging and preserving thousands of pieces of memorabilia and tributes left at three sites after the Jan. 8 shooting outside a grocery store on Tucson's northwest side that killed six and injured 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The first items taken away on Monday, January 31 were fragile paper items that would be harmed by rain predicted for the next day. Chrystal Carpenter, congressional archivist for the library, collected get-well cards, origami birds, paper chains, posters, photographs and other items. She said, "We're doing it in stages. We didn't want to take away everything at once out of respect. People are still grieving." Everything from the UMC site will be packed up, boxed and stored until they can be cataloged. Items range from candles to bouquets of flowers, potted plants, balloons, stuffed animals and messages of hope written on materials from ceramic tiles to paper plates. Original reporting by Kimberly Matas, Arizona Daily Star.
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